Issues & Current Projects

Information about current projects from YALSA.

Advocacy I Fund & Partner Development I Leading the Transformation of Teen Services I Organizational Re-Alignment

YALSA's Board of Directors adopted a new, three year organizational plan in 2021. Each of the three sections below represents a goal area in the plan. Keep up to date on the latest projects and issues via the YALSAblog.


YALSA supports ALA and other Division advocacy efforts and provides teen services specific resources via our web site. Please contact the chair of the Standing Board Committee on Advocacy if you'd like to contribute to this work. Currently YALSA is working on:

Putting Teens First

Given the events that followed the 2016 election, YALSA is working to provide information and resources to help members support teens in this uncertain climate, including:

Fund & Partner Development

Fund and partner development work is in the planning stage. Please contact the chair of the Standing Board Committee on Fund and Partner Development if you'd like to contribute to this work.

Leading the Transformation of Teen Services

Case Studies: YALSA is collecting examples of innovations that libraries are doing that support the vision for teen services as outlined in YALSA's Futures Report. If you have a case study to share, please contact Linda Braun. An updated collection of Case Studies is now available as a free PDF.

Collection Development & Content Curation:

  • In January 2017, The Hub was expanded with the addition of a Teen Book Finder database that will include all of YALSA's book and media award winners and selected lists in a fully searchable format. Content on the Hub will continue to expand to include YA materials of all formats and genres.
  • In January 2018, YALSA completed the process for transitioning YALSA's selected lists from standing committees to virtual blogging teams on the Hub. Read a January 2017 Board document (pdf) that outlines the transition process as well as an update to the transition.
  • In the fall of 2018, YALSA, with funding from ALA, expanded the Teen Book Finder database and app to include recommended teen titles from ALA's affiliates and round tables, including AILA, BCALA, REFORMA, and more.

College & Career Readiness:

  • With $305,000 in funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, YALSA will provide training and resources to small, rural and tribal library staff around college and career readiness. Learn more on our Future Ready with the Library web page.
  • With a $500,000 sponsorship from Google, YALSA is administering a grant program for libraries to design computational thinking and computer science programs for and with underrepresented youth. YALSA is partnering with ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), AASL, and ALSC on this effort, which runs from July 2017 through June 2018. This effort is a continuation of OITP's Libraries Ready to Code project. Use this short online form to submit your email to receive updates, including a notice when the application opens. Learn more on YALSA's site.

Community Connections: A YALSA taskforce compiled existing and created new resources to help members forge and maintain successful community partnerships in order to better meet the needs of all the teens in their community. The resulting work was compiled into a free toolkit (pdf).

Continuing Education: From June 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018 YALSA partnered with COSLA to host a National Forum on Transforming Teen Services Through Continuing Education. The result of this project is a report with recommendations for improving CE for all library staff so that teens are better served through libraries. State library agencies, graduate schools, trainers and others can use the report's recommendations to plan and deliver effective learning programs for all library staff. As a follow-up to this project, COSLA and YALSA are implementing a three year train the trainer program, beginning in July 2018.

Cultural Competence: Visit YALSA's wiki to access a compilation of resources. At ALA's 2018 Annual Conference in New Orleans, YALSA will co-host a workshop with ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy & Outreach Services on this topic, then make the materials publicly available online after the event. Additional work in this area is in the planning stages. Please contact the chair of the Standing Board Committee on Leading the Transformation of Teen Services if you'd like to contribute to this work.

  • Advancing Diversity Taskforce Report: Findings and recommendations from the Advancing Diversity Taskforce based on seeking feedback from both members and potential members and by researching industry best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion in order to explore the challenges and opportunities library staff of diverse backgrounds face when connecting with YALSA, including barriers to YALSA membership. by To learn more about this report, please read the YALSAblog post.
  • YALSA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan

Leadership: In 2018 YALSA launched an online leadership learning series aimed at helping members prepare for the next level in their career.

Research Agenda: Last updated in 2014, a new version of the agenda is now available that aligns with YALSA’s recent report, “The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action.”

STEAM Toolkit: The Teen Tech Week™ Committee expanded YALSA’s STEM Toolkit into a STEAM Toolkit (pdf).

Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff and companion materials: these are meant to help graduate schools, library administrators, and library staff guarantee that all teens receive high quality service from their public and school libraries, regardless of whether the library has the capacity to dedicate a full-time position to serving teens.

Organizational Realignment

In addition to working on the three goal areas listed above, a key first step for YALSA in implementing the new plan is restructuring the organization so that it is better positioned to carry out the new work needed to support the plan. For an overview of the re-alignment, check out these PowerPoint slides. Activities related to this effort include:

Creating short-term, virtual, opt-in opportunities for members: In mid-2016 the board began the process of evaluating all 50+ YALSA member groups, including advisory boards committees, juries and taskforces. The board also approved transforming many other member commitments from 1 and 2 year appointments to shorter term and opt in opportunities. The logistics of this change are being planned out in 2016 - 2017, with actual changes taking place in phases, beginning in Feb. 2017. Check out the Committees section of the YALSAblog for more background as well as for updates.

  • Moving to short term appointments for juries: As a part of this reorganization, YALSA's board approved a pilot plan to transform juries from 12 month appointed groups to 3 month appointed groups, beginning with groups that are appointed in fall 2016. The pilot was well recieved, so juries now operate under a 3 month term of appointment
  • Leveraging Resource Retreats: just prior to the 2017 Midwinter Meeting a small group of YALSA members met in person to create a Literacies Resources Toolkit for members. The Resource Retreat concept is being piloted as an alternative to appointing 1 - 2 year taskforces. Instead of doing a little work over an extended period of time, the Retreat will enable members to complete their task with minimal pre-work and a full day, intensive work session.

Governance reorganization: the board agreed that the mission and scope of the Executive Committee needed refocusing, and is working throughout the fall of 2016 and winter of 2017 to hammer out a new vision for this group. The board also agreed to expand the focus of the traditional Governance Nominating Committee to also encompass board training/development. The logistics of this change are being planned out in 2016 - 2017, with actual changes taking place beginning in Feb. 2017. Lastly, the board also agreed that more diverse representation on the board was needed, including representatives from beyond the library community. The logistics of this change are being planned out in 2016 - 2017, with actual changes taking place some time in 2017. Check out the Governance section of the YALSAblog for more background as well as for updates.

Staff reorganization: the board is leveraging interest from YALSA's endowments to fund a part-time position that will support literacies related projects, including book and media awards, Teen Read Week, the Teens' Top Ten, and the Teen Book Finder app. Other staff positions are being adjusted to support the work of the new plan.